Alabama’s top doctor blames Operation Warp Speed for state’s slow vaccine rollout

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WRBL) – After receiving over one million phone calls in reference to getting the COVID-19 vaccine in the state of Alabama, health officials are hoping to have a new way to allow people to get their name on the list.

The state is hoping to move to an online vaccine registration web portal in the coming weeks, but the Alabama Department of Public Health says the problem is not the system, the problem is the supply. 

Alabama’s Public Health Officer, Dr. Scott Harris, is worried about whether or not the state of Alabama is going to receive any new shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine this week from Operation Warp Speed.

Harris says his office is being told they will have second doses available for those who have received their first dose. As far as reaching people outside of that group, it still remains unclear due to miscommunication about the state’s vaccine allocation.

“We absolutely acknowledge that we need to be doing this faster. Although, I take issue with the numbers being reported. Alabama supposedly has allocation of 300 and something thousand doses, we have actually only received about 270,000 doses in our state. As of last night, we have given about 102,000 doses out of the 270,000 that have been shipped to Alabama, that certainly could be better but that puts us in the middle of what other states have been doing,” says Harris.

Harris says while the supply does not meet the demand at the moment, if you are eligible to receive the vaccine in the current phase, you should call your county’s Public Health Department to provide them with contact information to be notified when the vaccine becomes available.

 The ADPH COVID-19 hotline can be reached at (855) 566-5333.

While vaccine distribution is a problem, some people are still skeptical about the vaccine’s safety.

Harris says he understands the hesitation people might have about the COVID-19 vaccine, but he’s confident in the vaccines safety and says the public can be, too.

“I am confident that this is a safe vaccine. They did do things really quickly, but they did not cut corners when it came to safety. Those parts of the studies were done just like they have always been done and I believe the vaccine safe. I’ve taken it, I’ve recommended it for my parents, they’re going to get a vaccine, too and I think people who are eligible should take it,” says Harris.

Harris adds that plenty of preparation and collaboration with federal partners and medical experts was shared to ensure the vaccine is safe and effective.

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